During its first year, Essex Farm harvested 10,000 pounds of potatoes in just one day; Kristin Kimball turned some of them into potato-leek soup. If you have a blender and good chicken broth, she swears it's one of the easiest soups to make. This version has a fabulous topping of supercrispy sourdough and pancetta crumbs mixed with sage and rosemary.
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1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
6 small leeks (about 1 3/4 pounds), white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (4 cups)
4 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bunch broccoli—florets coarsely chopped, stems peeled and sliced
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 cups half-and-half or heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
One 12-ounce loaf of sourdough bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1-inch cubes
In a very large pot, melt 1 stick of the butter. Add the leeks, potatoes and broccoli and cook over high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock and 6 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup until very smooth. Return the puree to the pot and stir in the half-and-half. Season the soup with salt and white pepper. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, pulse the bread cubes in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the oil. Add the pancetta, sage, rosemary and bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the crumbs and pancetta are browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the pancetta crumbs and serve.
The soup and crumbs can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. Recrisp the crumbs before serving.
A fragrant, medium-bodied Italian white, like an Arneis.
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